Rieux meets up with Grand and Cottard, who came along to thank the doctor for his help back there with the whole suicide mess. It is Grand’s job (he’s a municipal worker) to figure out the body count every day.
At the moment, the total is eleven deaths in forty-eight hours.
Grand and Cottard accompany Rieux to the laboratory; Rieux says they should just call this what it is, but then hypocritically refuses to say the word ("plague").
Once they arrive at the Place d’Armes, Grand takes off for some mysterious business which is "personal" and which he refuses to discuss.
Rieux notes the way Grand always uses corny expressions that he says are from his "part of the world" (Montélimar, in the South of France).
Before Cottard departs as well, he and Rieux make plans to meet the next day.
Now alone, Rieux thinks some more about this Grand character. He has no upper teeth. He walks like a priest. He comes off as insignificant.
Grand is not an ambitious man, which is good, as his work as assured him he won’t be promoted ever. His job started as a "temporary" post, but he was so good at getting honest work done and not being promoted, he’s been there for twenty years or so.
Most importantly (and this gets back to why he wants to learn Latin), Grand has a hard time with words and language. Rieux identifies this as the "key" to the man’s personality.
In some ways, though, Grand leads an "exemplary life." He has good feelings and he loves his relatives, although his parents died when he was very young.
Basically, every time Grand sees Rieux he says he wishes he could learn how to express himself. In fact, the man is trying to write a book.
This thought somewhat comforts Rieux as he enters his lab; it’s absurd, but how can a pestilence happen in a place where eccentric men like Grand exist?